Chinese culture warms up Mets ball game

Updated: 2013-09-16 11:10

By Hu Haidan and Amy He in New York (China Daily)

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An Evening of Chinese Culture lit up Citi Field in Queens, New York, the home of the New York Mets, on the evening before a night game against the Miami Marlins on Friday.

The event featured a Chinese ribbon dance and kungfu and taichi performances by more than 200 participants, led by two-time world champion Sitan Chan.

The show was sponsored by the Sino-American Friendship Association and the Sino-American Culture and Arts Foundation and created to give baseball fans an insight into China through some of the country's traditional cultural forms.

Among the dignitaries present were Sun Guoxiang, Chinese Consul General in New York; Peter Koo, Council Member of Queens, Margaret Lam of the New Jersey Chinese-American Chamber of Commerce; Luo DePaoli, executive vice-president of the Mets; Xu Yaping, director of China National Tourist Office in New York; Peter Zhang, president of the Sino-American Friendship Association and Li Li, executive vice president of the Sino-American Friendship Association and president of the Sino-American Culture & Arts Foundation.

Sun, wearing a Mets jersey, threw the ceremonial first pitch for the game.

"I think a Chinese culture night will facilitate a cultural exchange between Chinese and Americans," said Sun. "Having a kungfu performance before the game is a wonderful way to promote Chinese culture."

Li Li said it is a wonderful night for Chinese culture to meet Western sports.

"Language can be a barrier," Li said, "but music and culture can meet and communicate without barriers and beyond boarders."

Koo said, "Flushing has the highest concentration of Asian-Americans in New York, so this is a great place to host a cultural event like this."

The China National Tourism Office (CNTO) has been supporting the An Evening of Chinese Culture for three years.

Throughout the baseball game, a video provided by the CNTO featuring China's natural landscapes was shown on screens throughout the stadium.

Xu Yaping said the CNTO was proud to present part of China to an American audience.

"Our involvement and participation in the local sports event is based on our belief that this is a great way to reach out to the American public and consumers," said Xu. "America is the melting pot of all nations and all cultures."

Zhang and Li said they came up with the idea of Chinese traditional performances before American sporting events in 2009 and the program was now in its fifth year.

DePaoli, executive vice president of the Mets, said they were looking forward to a long-term relationship with the Chinese cultural organizations.

"We are so happy to be part of this fantastic night here," DePaoli said. "We'd love to have many and many more for years come. This is a great night entertainment for everybody involved and it's also a great educational opportunity to learn about Chinese culture."

The event was hosted to coincide with the Mid-Autumn Festival, which takes place on the 15th day of the eighth-month on the Chinese lunar calendar. It is one of the most important holidays in Chinese tradition, as families gather for celebrations that include carrying lanterns, dancing and eating pastries called moon cakes.

(China Daily USA 09/16/2013 page2)